Gov. Brewer Plans to Attack the Grievance and Appeals Process for State Employees

Gov. Brewer revealed her plans for Arizona on Monday, January 9, in her “State of the State” address.  It could have a serious impact on the future of State employees.

In her address, the Governor’s comments included, “I asked for this job because I want to permanently reform state government… including personnel reform that improves the management of the workforce – restructures the grievance and appeal systems –and modifies human resource practices.”

SEIU Arizona State Director Don Carr said, “Our union is prepared to uphold existing protections for public employees. We will fight any so-called “reforms” that simply allow for favoritism or give unfair advantages to some employees at the expense of others.  We have already seen many shocking attempts to discipline people without reasonable cause when we’re representing State employees during grievance processes. We also want to be sure that employees are not targeted by rogue managers if they choose to bring a grievance because they believe they have been treated unfairly.”

Gov. Brewer detailed her unhappiness with the current “merit” system for hiring, promoting and firing State employees when she addressed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) members on November 21, during their conference in Scottsdale.

The Governor’s complaints about the merit system include:

* The procedure for firing staff is “difficult”
* The system “discourages” supervisors from managing or disciplining employees
* “It takes too long” to hire people
* The State is unable to reward top performers

Late last legislative session, the Governor’s office created a 230-page bill for Legislature, but it was not introduced.  Now, she and her staff are working on a new plan that is likely to include many of the same bad ideas.

The previous plan included:

* Moving from the current “merit” system to an “at-will” system.
* Allowing supervisors more freedom to discipline and fire employees, by reworking the employee grievance process.
* Limiting the appeals process for employees who are disciplined.

The Governor also wants to revamp the employee classification and compensation structure to allow for hiring of “more highly qualified workers.”  Governor Brewer said she would like to see “process and policies that work more like the private sector.”

Don Carr added, “Rest assured, SEIU State members and staff will be watching for these changes, and will take whatever action is necessary to preserve and defend the rights of Arizona State employees.”

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